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Robert Owen projects set to be revealed in April

Created on 01/03/2022 @ 13:58
A number of projects, including public art and an augmented reality tour, will be launched in April as part of commemorations of the birth of Robert Owen, the social reformer who was born and later died in Newtown.

2021 marked his birth 250 years ago and this year several projects will take place during April to commemorate the anniversary.

Robert Owen was a Welsh textile manufacturer, philanthropist and social reformer.

"Owen’s ideas about principled manufacturing, youth education and early child care, and the importance of community resonate with us two and a half centuries later. This honouring of Robert Owen’s legacy will however be undertaken with complete reflection of all aspects of his history including those more difficult," said Elinor Camlin, Project Co-ordinator of Robert Owen 250.

Elinor said despite his many forward-thinking ideas, Owen did not oppose the continuation of slavery and the use of goods from American plantations.

Talking about the project itself, she added: "There are four distinct aspects of this Robert Owen 250 project, all being arranged with the intention to invite community involvement."

"A permanent piece of public art has been commissioned and is being created by professional artist, Howard Bowcott. This will be located by the river, opposite the skate park, for locals to engage with and enjoy.

"The artists and writers Sadia Pineda Hameed and Dylan Huw have been commissioned to work with the local community to respond to Robert Owen’s history, and produce text which will be used as part of the work."

Young people have also been involved, with an art project which has resulted in several pieces being produced. Residents are being invited to vote on which one captivates them the most.

"A local sculpture competition for young people in conjunction with Mid Wales Art Centre has produced some exceptional pieces with the brief being to explore the life and work of Robert Owen.

"These sculptures are currently available to view at the Robert Owen Museum and will later move to Oriel Davies Gallery. Viewers are invited to vote for the sculpture that most captivates them."

Another project has been an augmented reality trail around the town.
"An augmented reality trail in and around Newtown that will tell Robert Owen’s story through 6 – 8 ‘digital’ stops. Performers from a Newtown-based theatre company will be part of the visuals used within the app," added Elinor.

Meanwhile, work has also taken place updating the Robert Owen Museum. This has included refreshing the displays which will be fully bilingual for the first time.

An outreach programme has also been undertaken with local schools.

The project is funded by Welsh Government, Powys County Council, Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and the Robert Owen Museum. The partner organisations are the Arts Council of Wales, Oriel Davies Gallery and Race Council Cymru.